Jeff Lautt, CEO of Poet LLC, spoke about the synergies between first generation ethanol production and cellulosic development. He noted Poet’s cellulosic joint venture with Royal DSM established its cellulosic ethanol plant adjacent to an existing corn ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The two facilities share a great deal of infrastructure, including roads, utilities and ethanol storage. Lautt also stressed that the same farmers provide feedstock to both plants.
Lautt said his company sees enormous potential for colocated cellulosic production in the future. The U.S. EPA’s proposal last year to gut the RFS, however, has frozen investment in cellulosic capacity, he said, adding this bill would make the situation worse. “It will hurt the very people who are going to expand cellulosic ethanol capacity right here in the U.S.,” he said.
According to Lautt, the U.S. must stop sending signals to investors that our country is not committed to the promise of biofuels. Investors don’t trust policy when these see these kinds of attacks year after year, he said. If policy change stifle the market for cellulosic ethanol in the U.S, he said, Poet would be forced to look abroad for better opportunities to develop cellulosic technology.